FORT GREENE – The bubbly flowed Thursday evening as BRIC celebrated the opening of its new 3,500-square-foot Community Media Incubator.
Located steps away from BRIC House (647 Fulton Street) on the second floor of 75 Rockwell Place, the Community Media Incubator features three editing suites, a podcast recording studio, and a screening room, all equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. Designed by Lubrano Ciavarra Architects, the facility also features meeting space, a kitchenette, and desks facing a wall of windows for employees and artists.
“What makes us unique versus the other cultural [institutions] is that we present established artists in TV, visual, and performing [arts], and we nurture up-and-coming artists,” Michael Liburd, Chair of BRIC, told the crowd during a brief speech. “No one else is doing that. Established and up-and-coming—we will always do both—but at our core it’s about giving access to the new talent that’s out there in Brooklyn…and giving them a place where they can get their work done. And this is what this is about, this incubator. And by the nature of its name, ‘incubator,’ that’s what we’re going to do here.”
In late October, BRIC will launch an open call for a media fellowship residency program, seeking media artists who will work from the new Incubator space. The residency program will support and foster emerging media-makers on a six-month cycle. The artists will be selected by a panel made up of BRIC staff and other media experts working in the field. The first class is slated to start in early 2020.
“We’ve always taught people how to use the equipment, then we moved on to teaching them how to tell their story. Now we want to make sure we have an opportunity for some of the upcoming filmmakers in the Brooklyn community—which there are a lot—to have the resources to finish their films for film festivals or for television,” said Anthony Riddle, BRIC’s Senior Vice President of Community Media.
When asked what the panel will be looking for when reviewing submissions for the fellowship program, Riddle said, “I think a lot of it will be people who are further along in their career, but not quite settled in their career.” The goal of the program is to help artists get “over the hump” and complete their projects with access to tools and software which can be costly.
“This space is really dedicated to nurturing the next generation of talent. So what you’re going to be seeing over the next year is residencies that are going to roll out and we’ll be incubating those folks,” BRIC President Kristina Newman-Scott said as she addressed the crowd.
“This facility will give us dedicated space and time for our artists that are really at pivotal moments in their career development in media,” she told Bklyner following her speech. “We’re trying to be really open about how we connect with artists working in media, but at the same time we want them to be at critical moments in their development so that they can capitalize on the resources and tools that we have here.”
“My hope is that we’ll make some awesome talent discoveries, we’ll continue to nurture artists the way that we long have,” she added.
Regarding what she’s hoping to see from the artist submissions, she replied, “We’re going to be looking for artists that have a particular point of view that resonates, that translates from the screen. A perspective that we haven’t seen.”
“I think we’re excited about that particular perspective or point of view that might not be the usual suspect, and we love the unusual suspect. That’s where we thrive,” Newman-Scott continued. “This will give us an opportunity to really pay keen attention to that and some of it might be challenging and a little bit…uncomfortable, but that’s when you know that you’re doing interesting and truly moving work, when you’re uncomfortable. I don’t want to be comfortable in this process. None of us wants to be comfortable, we want to learn,” she said.
Newman-Scott became President of BRIC last September after former president, Leslie Griesbach Schultz stepped down after 13 years. As the organization grows and “as Brooklyn continues to develop its global cachet,” she says she’s proud “that Brooklyn is still our neighborhood…. BRIC is all about dedicating our time and resources to the people who live here and call it home. We think Brooklyn is more than a brand, and we’re committed to the artists who get that.”
Founded in 1979, BRIC is a leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, including the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, Brooklyn’s Public Access initiative, Brooklyn Free Speech, BRIC TV, and a contemporary art exhibition series. BRIC also offers educational programs at its headquarters, BRIC House, in Fort Greene as well as in public schools across the borough. Learn more at bricartsmedia.org.